Philadelphia rapper AR-Ab has been sentenced to forty-five years in prison.
This shocking news was confirmed by the Philadelphia Inquirer, which said that the 38-year-old artist—legal name Abdul West—was sentenced Thursday for his alleged role in a drug-trafficking ring. And the news follows three years after he and eight other men were arrested on federal drug charges. The rapper was accused of converting his Original Block Hustlaz (OBH) record label into a large-scale trafficking ring that was implicated in at least one murder.
“You could have been a hero instead of a criminal,” U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson told AR-Ab during the sentencing hearing. “But you became a drug dealer. You made that decision. That’s why you’re being punished.”
AR-Ab was suspected of ordering the 2017 murder of rival Robert Johnson, he was not charged in connection to that crime. Prosecutors reportedly linked him to the fatal shooting after discovering the following lyrics on his phone: “I’ll have da whole city scared/Stand near home/I call Taz and tell him/Bring dat n***a’s head to me.” AR-Ab’s associate Dontez “Taz” Stewart ultimately pleaded guilty to Johnson’s murder.
AR-Ab is famous for his violent lyrics, which was a major talking point in the prosecution’s argument, as they believed AR-Ab’s lyrics were more than just a marketing ploy.
“This wasn’t a case against gangsta rap,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Everett R. Witherell said in court. “Mr. West made it clear not just in his lyrics but in his social media that people should be afraid of him and his willingness to resort to violence.”
In the days leading up to his sentencing, AR-Ab released a brief statement claiming he was ready to appeal.
We can’t wait to see how this pans out.